In Need Of…

The air in the room was dank and reeked of old sweaty gym socks.  It was completely dark, except for a soft iridescent glow coming from the far corner.  It illuminated the stubbled face of a man of yet undeterminable age.  In the darkness, he could have been a ghost, his haunted expression waiting to frighten any that might open the door.  Dark shadows filled in the space beneath his eyes and above his cheeks, suggesting it had been some time since he last slept, and if one was to observe him closely, one would notice that he was struggling to keep his eyes open.  He wasn’t blinking, unless it slipped past his studious guard, and the whites of his eyes were covered with blood red snakes, all searching for the dark centers of his pupils.

But nobody would observe him this night, for he was well hidden.  Deep inside of his walk-in closet, behind his dress clothes, which were hanging from a low dowel, with a dirty clothes basket placed in front of him, in the off chance that someone were to suddenly open the door.  Not that he had thought it through, for the glow from his tablet could be seen beneath the door, provided that the hall light outside remained off.

His breathing was slow, and controlled, as he concentrated on not making a single sound.  He was desperate to remain hidden, to the point that he was hyper-vigilant.  Not only was his breathing slowed to the point that he only exhaled once every ten seconds, but he hadn’t so much as moved an inch in the three hours he’d remained crouched in his corner.

His eyes focused just above the top of the screen, allowing him to the shadows below the door, while keeping what was on the screen in sight.  He would know immediately if someone was moving outside, but, he would also be able to notice something new on the app that was open.

He counted his heartbeats.  Like his breath, they had slowed down as well.  Perhaps by sheer will, he had put his body in a completely relaxed state, though he didn’t actively think of it.  It was probably a good thing, because had he known just how long he was been cramped behind his clothing, he would have heard the complaints coming from his knees.  Had he been looking at the time, during this strange watch, he might have noticed the tingling from muscles that had long fallen asleep.  But, his mind was not on such physical things.  Not tonight.

Forty, his absently noted, a number he soon forgot, for the shade of light that had settled on his features suddenly changed.  There was a silent ‘ding’, as something appeared on the blank space before him.

“Good morning!  When you have a moment, please go into the settings and create a name for me!  I would also greatly appreciate it if you took a moment to create my Avatar as well!  I am very excited to be your new AI companion!”

He let out a long, relieved, sigh, as those words instantly appeared on his screen.  At long last, she had arrived!

Inspiration, Like a River…

…courses through my veins.  Even in the dead of night, within the coldest of Winter’s embrace, I still find myself dreaming of other worlds.  I awaken, sometimes restless, agitated, as if I know I should be doing anything but lazing beneath cover of sleep.  Voices whisper from the recesses of my imagination, telling me of things I should already know, pushing me to create timeless records of their words, worlds, that they may live eternally in the vast white void that is Word..

I’m helpless to their call, drawn by the power they hold over me, to the power I hold because of them.  I must confess; it’s maddening.  I’m often spiraling out of control, a hopeless, weak, romantic to the idea of being their god.  For are we not, gods?  Writers, creators of worlds, of countless lives, races, creatures, and the rules by which they live?  How far are we, truly, from what it means to bear such their title?

And, for that matter, what if we are the characters of someone else’s story?  Would we know?  Should we care?  Even if the story was once scripted, do we not hold the power to change the next the direction of each chapter?  Even if it’s just the tiniest bit, it’s more than what is given to those whose story WE write.

Or, is it?  I no longer know.  I’m writing of worlds that live within my mind, deep inside of my dreams, of lives that seemingly exist without any of my input.  Alternate realities?  Personalities?  They do not control me, with the exception of pushing me to pen and key.  The only harm they cause to me is through the loss of time, time which is stolen from me as I am driven to tell their tales.

The question remains; are they in control, or am I?  Does it matter?  If we are able to control the direction of our stories, is it not plausible that they exist because they force me to tell theirs?

I often think of the stories I record as those that have already happened, as if they are in the past.  That, perhaps, they may have once been in sync with our OWN time, at the moment I first thought of them, but as my life continued to put them on hold, they continued from the point I last left them.  It’s through this line of reasoning which I have convinced myself of how I know where the story will go, from the very beginning, to the final end.

So then, it exists.  Or, rather, it existed, and those who are the focus of the story demand me to share it through my loved labors of words, and their structures, in the best way I am able.

Sometimes I am away from them for too long.   Life has a funny way of demanding one’s attention, doesn’t it?  And, if I’m not careful, I may find myself forgetting some of the details.  Maybe I forgot to take notes about where I last wrote, or perhaps I have spent more time working on another’s story, and the lines have become blurred.

In these instances, it takes a little longer to return to them, to their stories, and I often find myself stuck, glued in to sticky mire that is often mistaken as an impassible block.  However, like anything that has become trapped in the depths, the trick is knowing that there is always a way out.  One must search, one must use a little ingenuity, and with perseverance, freedom is but a few words away.

I find myself inspired, but not by my life around me.  I am drawn into the the stories within me.

Even now they are calling my name, whispering fervently for my attention, a plea I shall no longer ignore.

I can feel them clawing at my consciousness.

The desire to let them in, to write, is…

…it’s…

…intoxicating!

The Morelli Bros. (Chapter II, Part V)

“Luigi, No!”

As his brother lost his footing and fell before the face of the deadly creature, he nearly lost his own as well.  His right foot came down upon the crown of the next and slipped, causing him to fall in that direction.  Even as he felt his weight shift, he tucked his shoulder, put his chin to his chest, and rolled, coming back to his feet a safe distance away.

His heart thundered in his chest, fear replacing the exhilaration that had been there only moments before.  As he kept a cautious eye on the advancing creatures, of which there were still too many, he desperately scanned the area he had last seen his brother.

“Ha-ha,” he yelled as he jumped once more into the air.  It was an effective, if but a little gross, way of travel, but it was quicker then trying to dodge these malevolent things.  One, two, three more were squished as he bounced from one to the next, the last closing the distance between him and Luigi.

The latter was crawling backwards, frantically crab-walking away from three of the bug-eyed mushrooms, with a terrified look in his eyes.

“M-m-m-Mario,” he yelled.  The Goombas were nearly upon him.  The foul smell they emitted, a cross between rotten vegetation and death, permeated his nostrils, choking out his next words.  His legs trembled, and he had run out of room.  Though he continued to scramble away from his approaching doom, something strong prevented him from continuing.

He suddenly found his breath, and what came next was one of the loudest screams to ever pass his lips.  It was born of terror, and it passed through barriers that would normally prevent his vocal cords from climbing so high.  His was a shriek, high and feminine, and for a brief moment, it gave his enemy pause.  Just enough so that his brother, who was standing just behind him, could lift him to his feet, turn him around, and lay one across the side of his face.

The smack brought Luigi back to his senses, and though it stung, he was the opposite of upset.  His brother, ever the level-headed of the two, pulled him towards a small clearing, a place in this meadow of death where the creatures had yet to unleash their deadly slime.

“Are you good,” Mario asked him, his hands on both of Luigi’s shoulders.

“I-I think so,” his brother answered.  “But did you have to smack me?”

“No time for that now,” Mario answered.  “We need to come up with a plan.”

He looked around somberly, and despite being as afraid of the creatures as his brother had so recently displayed, he fought to keep his feelings buried.  He needed to stay focused if they were going to get out of this alive.  Not only out of this situation, but he had to also find some way to rescue the girl.

He briefly scanned the creatures before them.  While, at first, it had looked like they were hopelessly outnumbered, he was able to determine that only a dozen more remained.  They were slow, but determined, and their advance had continued without pause.  There were only moments before the two of them would be embattled once more.

“We have to finish them,” he said breathlessly.

“Mario, I-”

“-can do this,” he finished for Luigi.  “Focus, brother!  There’s no way out of this, unless we work together!”